Published: G.P. Putnam’s, Speak, 2013
Genre: Young adult dystopian/sci-fi
Rating: 3/5 stars
Description: “After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.” (Goodreads)
Why I picked it up: Aliens, to be honest. Aliens.
Summary: I wanted to like this book. I wanted to, but I didn’t.
Main character(s): I found the main character, Cassie, very unlikable, and I think that was the main thing that sunk this book for me. Her voice seemed really unrealistic and, okay, I know we’re talking about an alien apocalypse book here, but a certain degree of realism is usually required, or at least that’s what I personally prefer. Cassie’s cringe-worthy one-liners and Starbucks complaints seemed a little unlikely to me. It felt as if Yancey was trying to capture the voice of the “typical teenager girl” without ever having spoken to one. Cassie began as a really strong, independent character that I respected and ended up as a co-dependent damsel and I’m not going to lie, I was disappointed. I felt like she had a lot of potential that decreased as the story went on. She criticizes herself as if it’ll make it better. It does not.
Side characters: Ben Parish saved this book for me. I loved Ben’s character, potentially because I love the whole redemption character arc. I loved Ben’s motivation and the fact that he had (has) a bit of an internal struggle with his past and anger toward himself. I guess, in short, I like that he wants to make things right. The chapters from his POV were much less bothersome to read and his voice was definitely better written.
I also enjoyed Evan’s character, for the most part. I definitely felt he was a dynamic character and liked seeing his story and history unfold for Cassie. I could see a lot of the twists for his character coming but I still enjoyed when they were revealed nonetheless.
Plot: I really struggled with the first half of this book. I found it extremely dry and as I said earlier, I was beyond irritated with Cassie. Once the action started about halfway through, though, I became completely invested. The action sequences, base scenes, and invasion plans were the most interesting and fast-paced. Again, it was easy for me to see a lot of things coming, which made it a bit less enjoyable, but that’s just a preference of mine. It felt like a story I had read before, and after I finished, it strongly reminded me of The Host by Stephanie Meyer, except in one the aliens are rather hostile and in the other, they’re not. I wish the first half of the book had been a little faster-paced.
Author’s style: Again, I had some problems with Yancey’s writing. I felt like he was trying to capture the “teen” voice using stereotypes. There were several lines throughout the book that I literally winced at, and the romance was awkward and unnecessary. But then there were some parts I really enjoyed, such as the action sequences and portions that had to do directly with the invasion plans. If he hadn’t been trying to forcefully to write the typical teen, I probably would have liked the book a whole lot more.
Honestly, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book. I wanted to like it but it just wasn’t for me. It was too slow for my taste and I didn’t enjoy the voice or arc of the main character. The side characters are what saved it for me and the only reason I’m considering reading book two, The Infinite Sea. Hopefully I’ll enjoy that one a little better but unfortunately The 5th Wave just was not my cup of tea.
Some quotes I enjoyed:
“Some things you can never leave behind. They don’t belong to the past. They belong to you.”
“Love is a weapon they have no answer for.”
Recommend for fans of: Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Host by Stephenie Meyer